A bit of a sensational headline, but good news. Over 1,000 of the Persepolis Archives tablet fragments have returned to Iran. Technically all 30,000 tablets were loaned to University of Chicago in the 1930s, and they’ve returned in waves over the decades as they were studied and as politics allowed. 300 are now on display the National Museum of Iran.
I am always skeptical when people start using the word “restore” around ancient sites. Often we don’t know what they looked like originally to do it right and end up damaging things by trying to remake them. However, this article seems to be talking about important preservation work, which is good. Perseoplis is a treasure trove and should be maintained.
More political than a lot of my “in the news” stories, but I think it’s an important reminder to both be critical of sources and not let modern politics discolor history. Prime Minister Netanyahu tied the story of Esther (celebrated annually on Purim) to modern Iranian-Israeli hostilities. Esther tells how a Jewish queen (wife of the King of Kings) convinced the Persian King to stop a plot to kill the Jews; not how the Persians were anti-Semitic. Sadly, inaccurate propaganda like this is all too possible when modern Iran is making headlines.
Archaeologists uncovered these blocks with craftsmen’s marks in the ruins of Pasargadae. The blocks were probably originally meant for the royal palace there, but for went unused.
Archaeologists identified an Achaemenid era military encampment in Israel. Ancient sources suggest that Cambysses II used the area as a staging ground for his invasion of Egypt, leading to theories that this was the origin of the base.
Alexander and the Seleucids
This one is on the morbid end of things. In the never ending quest to determine what killed Alexander, Dr. Katherine Hall has suggested Guillain-Barré Syndrome as one possibility. The disorder matches his symptoms and can trigger paralysis – meaning the Macedonian king may only have been paralyzed when he was pronounced dead.
I’ve said that I’m kind of skeptical of restoring ancient buildings. In this case it sounds like there might not be much choice. A Parthian fort is getting new foundations after almost 2000 years to keep it standing. Not sure about the facade though.
All images are cover images from the linked articles in place of a more detailed link. Images correspond to link above.